After his second closed-door appearance before two House committees this month, ex-FBI director James Comey chides Republicans for not challenging President Trump’s criticism of the FBI.
Former FBI director James Comey accused President Trump on Monday of trying “to burn down the entire FBI” and charged that congressional Republicans were willing accomplices for failing to challenge him, reports the Washington Post. “The FBI’s reputation has taken a big hit because the president with his acolytes has lied about it constantly,” Comey said after his second closed-door interview this month with House lawmakers running a politically divisive investigation into how federal law enforcement handled probes of the Trump campaign’s alleged Russia ties and Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Comey directed his vitriol not just at members of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, but at all Republicans — including retiring GOP lawmakers, such as Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who have openly criticized Trump but aren’t seeking reelection. “At some point, someone has to stand up and face the fear of Fox News, fear of their base, fear of mean tweets, stand up for the values of this country and not slink away into retirement but stand up and speak the truth,” Comey said, without naming names. Comey testified for nearly six hours Monday. During the earlier session he defended his decisions as FBI director — such as superseding then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to declare the Clinton probe closed and then informing congressional leaders days before the 2016 election that it had been reopened. On Monday, Comey refused to take any personal responsibility for the reputation of the FBI having suffered under his stewardship. He blamed Trump for “lying about the FBI, attacking the FBI and attacking the rule of law in this country” and the “silence from people in this building” — meaning Capitol Hill — for allowing him to do it.